BY KRYSTYNA LAGOWSKI – Carcare Business Magazine
As technology continues to impact the aftermarket, it’s breeding some welcome consequences—like helping to increase trust between shops and their customers.
According to Jamie Cuthbert, President of AutoServe1, the technology that shops use to communicate vehicle photos, videos and measurements to their customers helps to create transparency. “It’s almost as if the customer is brought under the car and moves along with the technician,” he says. “We want to create trust at the point of decision, and digital inspections can make a big difference with that.”
Millennials will make up half of the workforce by 2030. “You need to be able to provide a digital inspection of a vehicle with photos, measurements and videos to the phone of a millennial within the next couple of years,” says Cuthbert. “That’s an overdue expectation.”
As an example, he cites customers who are near university towns. “Millennials bring in their cars for an oil change, and the local shop will tell them about a required repair. Usually, parents tell their kids to bring the car home at break and take care of it at the shop used by mom and dad. Now, when you send photos and videos of exactly what’s required, and the millennial forwards it to their folks, the response is to get it fixed immediately.”
Cuthbert also notes that shops using digital inspections have noticed that their customers have improved. “Customers who really care about their vehicles come more often. When you offer complete car care, you get customers who want complete car care.”
Customer owns the link
At Hunter Engineering Company, Dino Hatz, Business Development Manager, believes anything that adds credibility to a service will develop trust. “A time stamped photo of a wheel alignment can be entered on the Hunter inspection system, customized to that vehicle,” says Hatz. “We can email or text that to the customer, and they’ll see other items that are in good working order as well as those that may require service. Just by clicking on a link, they get more information that explains why it’s important. It increases the level of trust because it’s in real time, and it’s their vehicle.”
The customer can access the link any time because they own it. “Now, the customer can manage the cost of operating the vehicle over its lifetime and make key decisions,” says Hatz.
Although there should be a respectable level of trust between the service provider and the customer even without technology, facilitating the customer’s understanding of their vehicle’s health is always welcome. That’s where telematics comes in, according to Malcolm Sissmore, North American Sales Director of Traditional Markets at Delphi. “With telematics, when the check engine light comes on, the shop can read it and tell the consumer, ‘It’s the oxygen sensor on the left bank of your converter; you’re okay to drive but may want to come in next Wednesday,’” he says. “The shop can then call their jobber, make sure they have that 02 sensor, and be ready. As the customer is more prepared and understands what service is necessary, they can plan their finances and life accordingly.”
This article first appeared in the February 2017 edition of Carcare Business Magazine